Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deborah Butterfield ~ Dance Horse and relative at Purdue

Yes, I know. We look similar. And we're related. Deborah Butterfield, the sculptor who created us, makes horses. Some say she has a horse obsession. If you're looking for us, you find us everywhere. A few of us have been able to stay home in Montana. Others of us have have been let loose so to speak and now live elsewhere. Some of us are still inside like I used to be when I first came to the Portland Art Museum. Others of us now live outside like my still unnamed relative (seen in the image above) who just arrived last month at Purdue University in Indiana. Yikes, it's cold there and she is out in front of the Yue-Kong Pao Hall, which opened in 2005. That's the home to the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Much as I do, this horse looks like she's made of wood. I really like the whole positive, negative space thing people talk about – how you can see me for all of what I am and could be in your eyes, but not at the same time. Then look close and you can see the texture and color of wood. Some people actually touch me, expecting that I'll feel softer than the bronze I'm made of, more like the driftwood they "see" with their eyes. How did Butterfield do this? From a collection of wooden sticks, logs and branches, she creates my being. Then there's a lot more work that is best described in this article written about my Purdue relative...
"Photographs of the sculpture were taken before it was carefully disassembled. The individual pieces were then covered with a ceramic mold material that was fired in a kiln, burning away the wood but leaving an impression in the ceramic. After cleaning, the molds were used to cast replicas of the original wood in bronze, and then the molds were destroyed when the bronze was removed to ensure the sculpture is unique. After reassembly of the various parts, the bronze was then treated with a chemical solution that formed a patina that closely emulates the character of the original wood. In most cases, the patina and texture are so effective that viewers believe they are actually viewing a wooden sculpture."

In any case, I may or may not weigh more than the Purdue horse, who everyone says weighs 1,700 pounds. If only more of you would bring me apples and carrots, I know I'd best her on the scales.

No comments: